The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Archive for July 2009

Nurses: If you ever had to see a sick child turned away because they had no healthcare coverage…

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clipped from www.huffingtonpost.com
This ad, called “Nurses,” premieres on Sunday.  “Patients aren’t the only ones crying out for health care reform,” it says.
The initial buy for the “Nurses” ad begins Sunday, July 26 and will continue on networks and cable through July 29th.
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What kind of a nation turns away sick children in order to protect profits?

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Written by Monte

July 24, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Protecting private profits: the reason the healthcare debate goes on

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And the reason it is so hard to understand: politicians are trying to craft a plan that preserves the problem while fixing it. It’s been that way since Harry Truman.
clipped from www.truthout.org
“Absent from the debate are not only single-payer systems like the ones in England and Canada, but other systems with multiple payers, like ones in Germany and Japan – or, for that matter, any discussion of why a system that relies on competition among private insurers in The Netherlands hasn’t resulted in lower prices for consumers, as advocates claimed.”

    The variety of health care delivery systems abroad, in industrialized countries, spans a common assumption – health care as a human right – an assumption that doesn’t cut the mass-media mustard in the United States. “What’s common to all these systems,” Lieberman points out, “is that everyone is entitled to health care and pays taxes to support the system, and medical costs are controlled by limits on spending. The specter of a system that takes a significant bite out of stakeholder profits in the US is the real reason the debate is so restricted.”

“Reform efforts have danced around this impasse for decades.”
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Written by Monte

July 24, 2009 at 11:17 am

Posted in Politics

“Someone’s premiums” bought my lunch on gold-rimmed china

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Wendell Potter, former CIGNA exec, tells of the change of heart that caused him to leave the industry. While visiting family members in Tennessee, he drops in on a medical expedition, staffed by volunteers, at a Virginia fairgrounds, in a county where people have little health care access …
clipped from www.democracynow.org
I had no idea what to expect, but when I walked through the fairground gates, it was just absolutely overwhelming … [P]eople … were lined up in the rain by the hundreds … and they were being treated in animal stalls … They also had set up tents. It looked like a MASH unit. It looked like this could have been something that was happening in a war-torn country, and war refugees were there to get their care […]
It was just unbelievable, and it just drove it home to me, maybe for the first time, that we were talking about real human beings and not just numbers […]
[T]wo or three weeks later, I was [flying to a meeting] on one of the corporate jets … I was served my lunch on a gold-rimmed plate, was given gold-plated flatware […]
it just dawned on me, for the first time, that someone’s premiums … were paying for my lunch on gold-trimmed china […]
I thought about those men and women that I had seen in Wise County … not having any idea that this is the way that insurance executives lived and how premium dollars were being spent … I had to leave […]
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One dollar of every three we send to our health insurance companies goes to something other than healthcare. Those who struggle to pay high premiums to protect themselves and their children buy corporate jets, skyscraper penthouses, and fine china for insurance executives. Those who won’t, or can’t, often die prematurely.

Should we really have choose between paying for corporate luxury or risking an early death?

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Creating more insurgents than we kill

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NORTH WAZIRISTAN, PAKISTAN - FEBRUARY 17:  A P...
Image by Getty Images
via Daylife

Quick: explain the US/NATO mission in Afghanistan.

“Well, um … to get Osama—9/11, you know.”

But Osama’s not there.

“Yes, well … there’s the Taliban—flogging women.”

But Taliban forces melt away into Pakistan during a US offensive, then return when our forces leave.

“But we send those missiles into Pakistan to get them.”

Exactly.

Those missiles do exactly what Al Qaeda needs done: they arouse anti-American hatred. They create a sense of helplessness. They make terrorism seem rational—even necessary—to a people whose families suffer sudden devastation from an untouchable, invisible foe.

Here’s how Chris Hedges writes it, in a post called War Without Purpose:

clipped from www.truthdig.com
Al-Qaida could not care less what we do in Afghanistan. We can bomb Afghan villages, hunt the Taliban in Helmand province, build a 100,000-strong client Afghan army, stand by passively as Afghan warlords execute hundreds, maybe thousands, of Taliban prisoners, build huge, elaborate military bases and send drones to drop bombs on Pakistan. It will make no difference
We are fighting with the wrong tools. We are fighting the wrong people. We are on the wrong side of history. And we will be defeated in Afghanistan
clipped from www.truthdig.com
The offensive by NATO forces in Helmand province will follow the usual scenario […]
The Taliban will withdraw … And [then] the Taliban will creep back […]
The only way to defeat terrorist groups is to isolate them within their own societies. This requires wooing the population away from radicals. It is a political, economic and cultural war. The terrible algebra of military occupation and violence is always counterproductive to this kind of battle
It always creates more insurgents than it kills
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None of us can identify a winning strategy currently at work in Afghanistan. Killing doesn’t win hearts. Once again, we trust force to accomplish something force has never done.  How long, this time?

Let’s stop it. And start over. With a strategy designed first to ruin Al Qaeda’s pitch, rather than provide its background music.

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Written by Monte

July 21, 2009 at 3:13 pm

IA Rep Steve King is sole objector to slave labor memorial at US Capitol

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Steve, Steve, Steve.

Iowa has a cherished history of getting it right early on civil rights issues. Why must you so disgrace us?

clipped from www.bleedingheartland.com

Congressman Steve King showed us again on Tuesday why Esquire magazine named him one of the 10 Worst members of Congress last year.
On Tuesday King distinguished himself as the only member of the U.S. House to vote against placing “a marker acknowledging the role that slave labor played in constructing the Capitol” in a “prominent location in the visitor center’s Emancipation Hall.” This was not a partisan resolution; 399 members of Congress voted yes, including certifiable wingnuts such as Minnesota’s Michele Bachmann.
King objects:

Our Judeo-Christian heritage is an essential foundation stone of our great nation and should not be held hostage to yet another effort to place guilt on future Americans for the sins of some of their ancestors.

Reading King’s statement reminded me of Esquire’s observation:

King believes himself to be clever, and his list of idiot declarations is probably the longest in Washington.

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Written by Monte

July 21, 2009 at 8:46 am

DNC ad targets House: “It’s time”

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Yes, it is.   Real reform.  Single-payer at best; strong public option at the very least.

Written by Monte

July 20, 2009 at 9:00 pm

A letter from Guido

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Sometimes you come across a story so holy that your only concern is not messing it up.  This is one. Guido is a friend of a friend, Donnie Miller.  Donnie writes at One Church Planter’s Journey, where this note from Guido was published.  If you want a little background, follow Donnie’s “Love Wins” tag here.


As I get older I realize that a lot of my views on life seem to change. One of them is the subject of religion. I grew up thinking that religion was all about control of the people and if you didn’t fit the mold you were thrown to the other side of the line. Either you’re a good person or a bad person. Most of my experiences with churches have been bad ones.

Guido (at right)

I believed you don’t bother me and I won’t bother you. They criticize you if you don’t follow their rules even if you didn’t know the rules. From what I know of Jesus I thought he talked to all people and did not judge them but explained what they should be doing and let them figure out what they needed to change.

My opinion has changed over time but more in the past couple years. A big influence in my thought change has come about because of a couple, who years ago I would have judged as those church people and avoided like the plague. It all started one day when my door staff guy at work called me and said some church ladies were there I thought “Oh NO here we go again”. (Several years before some church ladies had been in our parking lot picketing and handing out negative brochures.) He said they were leaving some gifts for the girls. I think he asked them if they had paint bombs in them because he was also leery. After talking to the employees and the staff I found it odd they would bring stuff to dancers and thought what’s their angle? So this happened again the ladies came to the door dropped off gifts, smiled then left. I thought that’s nice so I had my bartender put together a basket of nice things for the ladies and drop it off. I later thought to myself “wow I’m interacting with church people”. Read the rest of this entry »